Maybe It’s a Christmas Melancholy

Christmas Melancholy

I turn into a pensive state during the Christmas season. It makes me realize how it will never be the same as years before when it meant a joyful gathering of all the people I love.

Now, I don’t want to sound like I am stuck in the past, but as we grow older, we slowly come to terms with the fact that we are growing up, and the people we love are getting older too, and sadly, leaving us behind.

I love this merry season, don’t get me wrong. I am grateful for the life I have and the life of the loved ones who are with me, especially my mother. I received abundant blessings this year, and I am always thankful.

But you see, as it comes, I welcome the excitement it brings while I acknowledge how it also comes with a sense nostalgia and melancholy that I have felt since the day I felt a real heartbreak—the day I first lost a loved one. It’ll never be the same Christmas as before; that’s a realization now that I’m an adult.

Christmas is a reminder that life is fleeting.

Growing up, I never really cared about gifts. I was raised not expecting gifts from other people. If there is, I am truly thankful, but if there’s none, it doesn’t matter. We won’t throw a tantrum or dig a feeling of resentment towards someone. I remember one gift my auntie gave us: a simple summer hat. I loved it not because it was pretty but because it also matched my sister’s, and that’s what made me happy.

Looking back, what stuck with me are memories. Experiences from childhood that are clear until this day.

What I looked forward to was going to the province, spending time with my grandparents in Pangasinan, or biking around Sampaloc Lake in San Pablo, Laguna, on Christmas Day. Oh, how I miss my Papang sitting in his chair beside the dining table, or my Mamang’s voice when she’s talking to her friends, even the puto and karyoka she prepares to sell. I long for my Papa’s light jokes, his cooking sinaing na tulingan and sinang tomas, our conversations over coffee, and random aspirations.

I remember how I’d play under our huge Christmas tree, playing pretend with my dolls around me, while my Papa would watch a PBA game or my mother in the far end of the room busy with her lesson plans and preparing her student’s grades before the long holiday comes in.

It was a season of fun, family, and everything love (err, drama as well, but I don’t miss that!), even if we only had a little money to spare and time to spend with one another. We’d cram into a fully loaded bus bound for the province with pasalubongs in duffel bags.

Now I understand why both my parents always go back to their respective hometowns during the most important season of the year—because it means going home to their place of comfort zone, where people they love are waiting for them.

Now, Christmas is a tad bittersweet. It reminds me of all the seasons when I am complete, my family is complete, and how it’ll never be the same again. But I see the joy of Christmas in the eyes of kids around me, in my nieces and nephews’ happiness around the people they love and like, their smiles and hugs in between moments that may seem random for us but mean the world to them, just like how I was when I was their age. That’s what makes me happy somehow. Even in a lingering state of longing and sadness, a tinge of joy still embraces the season.

It’s a wonderful Christmas, after all.

Gelyka Dumaraos

Gel is a writer and wanderer from the Philippines. She maintains this blog, Musings and Pathways, as a platform for her thoughts on love and life and stories of places and people she meets while on the road. Aside from writing and being a freelance media consultant, she is recently into baking and cooking. Gel lives with her fiance in a humble, work-in-progress abode in the beautiful province of Rizal. Email her at

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